Revisiting The Graduate: Is It Outdated?
From The History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?
Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
The Graduate, a 1967 film directed by Mike Nichols and based on a novel by Charles Webb, introduced the world to actor Dustin Hoffman and became one of the most beloved Hollywood comedies ever made. Telling the story of a disaffected college graduate who has an affair with an older woman and then falls in love with her daughter, the movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards (with Nichols winning for Best Director) and soon became a favorite of critics and college campuses everywhere.
How does the movie hold up? Is the novel any good? Why did Roger Ebert fall out of love with it, finding it to be much less worthy at age 55 than he had thought thirty years earlier? And why did the author Charles Webb, together with the real-life inspiration for the movie’s Elaine, end up destitute and living out of a VW bus? In this episode, Jacke takes a look at a classic film and what it means to grow old as art grows old too (or does it?).